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MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) – Forecasts generally have Wilmington, North Carolina, as the city most likely to bear the brunt of powerful Hurricane Florence as it makes landfall.
But no matter where the monster storm ultimately crosses the southern East Coast of the US, Florence’s high winds and heavy rains will hit communities for miles north, south — and even west.
Damaging effects from the storm are expected to be felt far inland, particularly as it’s projected to stall once it crosses the coastline.
People all over Wrightsville Beach are getting ready for Florence.
“We’re just trying to get boarded up,” said resident Michael White. “It’s like the storm’s gotten worse, it got bigger. And we hadn’t seen this kind of storm since Fran. So we’re concerned.”
The White family has good reason to be concerned.
Not only will Florence bring powerful wind, but storm surge is an issue too for them.
They live just feet from the beach and are now moving everything to the second floor.
“There’s a lot of apprehension, particularly with storm surge, what they’re predicting, there’s going to be a lot of flooding and certainly we’ll lose power,” White said. “That’s a big concern.”
Across the street, Andrew Garver moved nearly everything out of his apartment. His landlord does not plan on putting up shutters.
“I don’t want to stick around here and wait and see,” said Garver. “I’m going to get to a higher elevation point.”
On the beach, a lot of people are coming just to take a look at the spot where two days from now, Florence is expected to barge in.
“We’re very concerned, it’s a category 4 coming on land,” said Wilmington resident Rachel Pooley. “We’ve lived in Wilmington 8 years now and we’ve not seen a category 4 yet so we’re very nervous.”
A big worry with Florence is that the system could linger for days, similar to the manner in whch Harvey hovered over Texas last year. That means high rainfall totals and consequent inland flooding could become a huge concern.
The current forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls for more than 20 inches of rain where the storm makes landfall. But more than 10 inches is forecast for a larger area, including most of eastern North Carolina inland to just north of Richmond, Virginia.
A new National Hurricane Center map predicting the likelihood of tropical storm-force winds stretches from northern Florida to eastern Kentucky and Ohio, and even up to the New York City area — although there’s only a 5% to 10% chance of those conditions stretching that far north. Tropical storm force winds have sustained speeds of at least 39 mph.
Also forecast for the region, according to the center:
- *Heavy rainfall — up to 15 inches — for much of northern Virginia and almost all of the state’s eastern half. Rainfall of up to 2 inches could extend as far as eastern Tennessee and up to western Massachusetts.
- *Life-threatening storm surges along portions of the coastlines of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.
- *Flooding from a prolonged, heavy rainfall could extend inland over the Carolinas and for hundreds of miles. The risk of flash flooding is 20%, or moderate, for the eastern third of North Carolina.
- *Large swells along parts of the US East Coast will spawn dangerous surf and rip currents.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company, contributed to this report)